Monday, 14 October 2013

Autumn Fashion Inspiration From The Catwalks

Catwalk shots from

Here at Minimum Mouse we're not the biggest followers of the catwalk trends, we're more about people who create their own look, treating the decades like their own personal dressing up box. But that doesn't mean that it isn't interesting, and indeed fun, to look to what the designers are doing as the stuff is very pretty to look at. And ridiculous. And downright bonkers. And way, way out of our budget.

So often we look at images from catwalk shows and think to ourselves how we have seen such similar things in our own stock or at vintage fairs: fashion constantly references what has come before, which is why looking to vintage is often a fantastic, and more affordable, way of recreating those beautiful catwalk looks. So I like to head over to from time to time and see what the fash pack are getting their knickers in a twist over.

Tartan and sheer slips at Saint Laurent, classic punk styling at Versace. Images from
Elle's top ten trends for A/W '13 include The Rebel, which is basically a punky, grungy look heavy on the zips, studs and leather. Seen at Versace and YSL. We like the mesh dresses, oversized knits and tartan prints which seem fresher than the studded leather looks we've seen a million times before. We're not tired of the early nineties revival just yet!
Nun chic at Valentino, face mesh and Elizabethan vibes at Alexander McQueen. Images from
Falling neatly into the 'bonkers' category is The Church, a trend seen at Valentino, Alexander McQueen and D and G, this ecclesiastical themed trend might look great on the catwalk but waiting for the bus in a wimple is always going to be a fashion don't.

Overcoat and beret at Margaret Howell, velvet and tailoring at Emporio Armani, and borrowing your boyfriend's suit at  Richard Nicholl. Images from
Boy Meets Girl, a trend which sees a natty blend of masculine tailoring and feminine touches is much more wearable and so easy to draw on vintage pieces to create. A man's suit can look amazing, especially if you get some alterations done to get the perfect fit, and men's overcoats are so easy to pick up at a great price if you go for vintage.

Chic skirt suits at Prada, nostagic outerwear at Christian Dior, metallic detailing at Louis Vuitton. Images from
The prim, ladylike look seen at Christian Dior is an absolute gift for a vintage fan - it is vintage, just rebooted for another season. Tweed pencil skirts, pretty blouses, ladylike coats and such are vintage staples.

Ultimate eighties power dressing at Balmain, boxy monochrome at Roland Mouret, a punky twist at Haider Ackermann. Images from

Similarly, Elle's trend The Warrior is basically eighties power dressing. Think broad shoulders, spike heels, tailoring.

Asymmetrical embelishment at Emanuel Ungaro, textures and pattern mash up at Tom Ford and regal opulence at Dolce and Gabanna, Images from

Excess All Areas, the opposite of minimalism seen at Tom Ford is basically an invitation to throw on a random selection of the contents of your wardrobe. Our kind of trend!

Opulent berry toned velvet at Marios Schwab, volume and velvet at Christopher Kane
Finally, the Dark Arts = goth. We all know what that means, but whether or not you are of a gothic persuasion, sumptuous velvet is pretty irresistible at this time of year.

Pretty much every trend (excepting maybe 'The Church'!) can be created by visiting any vintage fair in the land, where you will probably be able to kit yourself out in a whole new look for well under £100. Which is why vintage rules.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Tutorial: How To Make A Tasseled T Shirt Top

OK, so first of all let me apologise for the timing of this post- I realise that October is a bit of a funny time to be thinking about making, cropped, tasseled, summery vest tops. At this time of year your mind is probably on what winter coat to buy and being very thankful that you are unlikely to feel inclined to expose your midriff for sometime (which equals= cake, pizza, wine, fun!) but I had this post prepared a while ago and never got around to posting it. I could have saved it until next spring but I'm not going to, because tasseling t shirts is so easy and fun, and if you do it now you'll be all set for your beach holidays and festivals next summer. Plus, I think they look great layered over other tops. And of course, this post will be here, ready and waiting for you when spring and summer comes around and you decide that you need an amazing tassled top in your summer wardrobe. So, enjoy!

Tasseled t shirts are one of the easiest things to make, and since pretty much everyone is going to have some old t shirts knocking about their wardrobe, it's something you don't need to buy any materials for so will cost you nothing. The great thing about t shirt material is that it does not fray so you can leave the edges raw, so you don't need a needle and thread or a sewing machine. All you need is a pair of scissors.

On the top above I have turned it into a vest by cutting off the arm holes and collar. I have gone for low cut arm holes as this style has been our most popular at festivals, as they look great worn over bikini tops, but you could cut them higher, just following the line of the sleeve seam, or leave the sleeves on, it's totally up to you. The same goes with the collar. All you need to do is make sure they are symmetrical, and the easiest way to do this is to fold the t shirt in half along the vertical and cut both sleeves at the same time, as shown here on a different top-

Next up, the fun part! Cutting the tassels in. First of all you need to cut the hem off the t shirt, which is very straightforward, you just lie the t shirt flat and trim just above the stitching on the hem-

Next, you need to start cutting in the tassels by cutting straight up from the hem to the point at which you want the tassels to finish. You can cut the front and the back at the same time by lying the top flat and picking up the front and back with the scissors at the same time, this will mean that the front and back are balanced. If there is a print on your t shirt, you will want to have that face up to ensure you don't cut into it. To ensure that the tassels run straight and the top doesn't end up wonky, you can draw a line where you want the tassels to end with tailor's chalk or place a ruler/something straight at that point. Or, if you want a more mismtached look, you can cut the tassels to different points to create an interesting effect.

Cut the tassels approximately a centimetre apart, like this-

Once you get to the end of the t shirt, you're done! Just pop it in the washing machine on a normal cycle, and when it comes out the tassels will have curled up and look great. They will also have most likely got quite tangled in the wash, so while the top is still wet you need to untangle the strands and then hang the top out to dry. It is much easier than trying to untangle it once it is dry.

And that's it, you're ready to go! It really is one of the simplest rework projects you can do. You can get really creative with it too, you can tassel the sleeves as well as the hem, have short or long tassels, plait the tassels or tie little beads on the end of the strands, so you can create lots of different effects. Pick out an old t shirt (or look for one in a charity shop) and have fun!
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